A year from this past Tuesday, I graduated from uni. It was a hot, steamy day and my friend and I teetered on the edge of her bed to snap a photo of our grad dresses in the mirror.
In less than a week’s time, I would say a final goodbye to my friends, my church family, Savvy (!!!), my boyfriend, and fly back to America, this time for good.
Honestly, since then, it’s been the most unpredictable and challenging year for me.
For one thing, I went from hostessing at a pub & grill in rural Massachusetts to working as a publicist in suburban Florida. I interviewed pastors who celebrated LGBTQA persons in their church. I read a spoken word poem at a 24-hour café. I went apple-picking. I gorged on Jamaican curry on a rooftop. I interviewed a homeschooled family that took me, literally, into the woods.
But I have also felt lonely. I’ve felt hopeless, especially when scrolling through jobs on LinkedIn. I didn’t expect life after uni to be this emotion-filled. But I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
I read a self-help book about navigating your twenties and the author Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, writes:
“Every day, I work with twentysomethings who feel horribly deceived by the idea that their twenties would be the best years of their lives.”*
It makes sense to me. My friends and I agreed that our twenties were supposed to be the most fun years of our lives.
But when you get out of uni, you need a purpose. For me, nothing is more mind-numbing than not knowing what to do. I can’t sit still. I also need people. This made the graduate life difficult for me because it involved a lot of patience and a lot of alone time.
I prayed so hard for God to give me something to do. I prayed for autonomy. I prayed for friends. Then, within the span of less than two months, I got my license, a car, a job, a home away from home, and, who’da thunk, friends. It was a quick scramble into my new life. I learned how to pump gas on the drive down to Florida.
I’m not hitchhiking across Spain or going to beach parties every weekend. But I’m doing something that gives me purpose. And that feels much more fulfilling to me than an aimless day-by-day life which, granted, might have to be endured for a short while after uni.
So to my friends who have just graduated, if I were to tell you what to do, it would be this: get busy on what you want to do—or at least on figuring that out.
Trust me, through that you will get some pretty wild and unpredictable experiences.
*Jay, Meg. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How To Make The Most Of Them Now. New York: Hachette Book Group, 2012. Print.